Airfield Design, Plans and Aerial Photos
RAF Blakehill was one of three airfields (the others being Broadwell near Burford and Down Ampney near Cirencester) to be constructed north of Swindon to house No. 46 Group, the RAF formation that brought together the tactical air transport squadrons that were to support the army in the planned invasion of Europe. It was planned as an ‘A’ Type airfield dispersed across 14 sites, the airfield just being one of those sites.
The airfield was built originally as a 'defensive' airfield, and was equipped to house heavy bombers and the associated bomb loads.
The airfield was equipped with a 'bomb dump' and 'shooting in butt', although no offensive aircraft were stationed here. No bombs, or other armaments were stored, nor was the airfield ever attacked (see the decoy site story for more details)
The 3 runways were made of concrete 9 inches thick, the main runway measuring 2000yards, the others measuring 1410yards, each runway being 150 feet wide,
There were 46 spectacle dispersal bays and a compass swing dispersal on the northern perry track with no evidence of a swing platform ever being built.
Below, a specially comissioned composite photograph produced by Georgina Povey constructed from aerial photographs taken of the airfield during 1943 and 1946 - a version of this is used to show the location of modern features on the main gate.
Below - North Eastern end of runway 2 showing T2 hangars and technical site
Below - The technical site - now the Chelworth Industrial Estate
Below - North Western edge of airfield - the road at the bottom of the image is the B4040 - the modern entrance to the nature reserve is in the area marked by the arrow